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Honoring and Modernizing Otl Aicher's Classic Design

Posted by: Fatima Urigüen on Monday, December 16 2013 06:30 PM
Munich Airport

One must be brave to attempt to refresh the classic Otl Aicher M created for Munich Airport in 1979. Daring to take on modernizing the design while honoring the original, Interbrand Cologne aimed to strengthen the airport's already successful position among its global competitors, enhance its brand appeal and boost its attractiveness as an employer.

Munich Airport's New LogoMunich Airport, or Flughafen München as it’s known in German, is the seventh busiest airport in Europe, meeting the needs of almost 40 million passengers a year. Connecting tens of millions of people to their dream vacations, visits to family and friends, and business opportunities, and building on the brand's original philosophy that at the heart of the business are the people it serves, a new brand idea emerged: Verbindung Leben (Living ideas – Connecting lives).

At its essence, the idea was to transform how we see the airport space from portal to human experience. Bringing natural light, creating a clean and open space incorporating natural greenery, a livable space for the people who work within the space and experience it during their travels was created.

The new logo becomes the symbol of this transformation. Building on the original form of the old "M," the right upstroke in the letter plays a fundamental role in the new concept at the core of the new visual identity. It becomes a "connector," or a linking element within the M, serving as an anchor between two lives. The M symbolizes the airport bringing people together, and it also serves to unite Munich Airport's stories, its history and its future.

Images that accompany the logo bring the concept to life. A family is connected as they reunite at the airport. People travel to new experiences, live their dreams and achieve their goals. Munich Airport is what connects them to those moments.

As each image depicts a unique human story of connection, the logo appears in different colors, symbolized the multifaceted experiences offered at Munich Airport. The colors can change dynamically, creating ease in adaptation to many applications.

The colors not only serve as a way to communicate diversity of experience, but represent a brushstroke, making the original M now feel transformed from a static symbol to a dynamic sense that the brand itself is taking flight. The brand comes to life and tells powerful stories about a place where unique experiences can be lived.

We believe Otl Aicher would be proud.

Fatima Urigüen is a designer with Interbrand Cologne.

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